Shiny Shelf

Bite Club #6

By Eddie Robson on 20 September 2004

WARNING! Contains spoilers!

Well, that was all a bit of a waste of time, wasn’t it?

Actually that’s unfair. Throughout its run ‘Bite Club’ looked superb, David Hahn using duo-tone techniques so skilfully that you barely even noticed it was duo-tone: it just added to the mood. Meanwhile, Chaykin and Tischman’s world-building exercise developed throughout the book, with numerous neat and well-considered details.

Early on, the main problem was that it wasn’t entirely clear why this family gangster saga was about vampires, and in fact that’s still true at the end. The question initially posed was: ‘What if Miami’s gangland was dominated by vampires?’ At the end, the answer is: ‘It’d be much the same. Only the gangsters would be vampires.’

Thing is, by the end that isn’t even the main problem any more. Having developed their characters over five issues, the sixth provides a woefully poor pay-off. Until now, the story has been about former priest Leto’s attempts to adjust to being head of a crime family. His moral shift has been interesting to read, if somewhat derivative of ‘The Godfather’. Sub-plots have trundled alongside to flesh out the backdrop.

How do the writers tie off these myriad strands? Frankly, it looks like they couldn’t be bothered to. Risa – who until this point has existed mainly to strut around in heels and a mini-skirt being obnoxious – has most of the surviving family members killed and steals Leto’s girlfriend (which feels gratuitous, a titillating plot twist for its own sake). She takes over as head of the family. The end.

Although beautifully realised by Hahn, Risa is not a particularly interesting or likeable character. I liked her at first, but she appears not to have developed at all over the course of this series, so I couldn’t see what the point of her was. So she takes over at the end – so what? It does seem like she was selected as the ultimate victor because the writers thought she was the coolest character.

The storyline didn’t build up to this, but nor is it a jaw-dropping surprise. And that’s why it feels like a waste of time.

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By Eddie Robson

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